Celebrity Names Blog

Mariska Hargitay Adopts a Complex Name, Amaya

Mariska Hargitay Adopts a Complex Name, Amaya
Girlie/Fame Pictures

Mariska Hargitay's surprise announcement to PEOPLE -- that she and Peter Hermann had adopted a baby girl -- also revealed the baby's name: Amaya Josephine Hermann.

Mariska's family is a mixed bag of origins. Her Hungarian father was Mr. Universe, and her American mother was Jayne Mansfield.  Her husband is German-American.  You see these influences in her son's name: August Miklos Friedrich Hermann. August is a stylish, cosmopolitan classic. Miklos honors Mariska's brother. Friedrich is German. The whole name tells a story of influences.

What story does Amaya Josephine tell? With Amaya's mixed-race adoption, the family adds a layer of complexity to its origin story. Notes Mariska, "We are very excited we are now a multi-racial family." Choosing names that span traditions is increasingly an issue families face as they become multiracial through marriage or adoption. 

In this regard, Amaya may be a deft choice. The name, which has only recently appeared on the popularity charts, is nebulous, without a dominant association. At the same time, the name has popped up lately in the top-100 lists of several states. Notably, the frontier states of New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and Montana  -- where a freestyle naming culture reigns -- have particularly favored Amaya. 

Sources online say that Amaya is also a Japanese name, meaning "night rain." And Amaia is a Basque name (baby name and place name) and a Sanskrit word. These associations all thread through the name, giving it complexity and depth. Meanwhile, Josephine, a dignified European favorite, adds some backbone to the puddly Amaya. 

What do you think of Amaya Josephine? Do you like it with August Miklos Friedrich?



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April 7, 2011 6:59 PM
By Alli (not verified)

How is Amaya puddly? I think it's a beautiful name and sounds nice with Josephine. The Japanese meaning is lovely as well.

April 7, 2011 10:04 PM
By Izzy (not verified)

Generally speaking, I'm a fan of quirky, but quite traditional names. I don't like "new" names nearly as much as "old-fashioned" traditionals. But I have to say, I heard Amaya and loved it. I wouldn't name m child this, but I also wouldn't call it puddly. I think Amaya Josephine is a beautiful name.

April 8, 2011 12:23 PM
By Amy (not verified)

There was an Amaya on Real World Hawaii.

April 9, 2011 6:33 PM
By Mom (not verified)

I really like Amaya Josephine, and I think it goes well August Miklos Friedrich!

April 12, 2011 11:53 AM
By jessicraig04 (not verified)

I like it and it goes well with Josephine. I named my own daughter Josephine 7 months ago. :)

April 12, 2011 12:40 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Definitely not puddly (which I assume means weak or flaky). It sounds very traditional and either tribal or spanish. Love it.

April 13, 2011 1:57 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

i love the name amaia / amaya. we live in mumbai, india and our daughter was born the night the monsoon hit mumbai after a long, harsh summer. "the rain at night" just seemed perfect. a-maya also means 'without maya' or without illusion. it's a strong, beautiful, feminine name...

April 14, 2011 9:33 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

As a Maya myself, I'm kinda fond of Amaya.

April 17, 2011 12:22 AM
By lady-Carisa (not verified)

I thikn Amaya is a wonderful name. But, I suppose since I 16 years ago I named my daughter Kamaya, I may be a bit partial.

November 30, 2013 6:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

The name Miklos honors her dad, Miklos Hargitay.

December 8, 2015 10:36 AM
By It is my surname (not verified)

My last name is Amaya. Amaya is much more commonlly known as a last name in my parts. I also use it as my entertainment business name, aka stage name.

It is also a very famous name in Southern Spain. It is known for a famous Gypsy/Gitano lineage of singers, musicians and dancers. Look up the bio on Carment Amaya to see how far reaching this name is.

This name is beautiful and has opened many doors for me.

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